What I Learned as an Evolutionist

If you ever find yourself completely bored and, for kicks, decide you want to stir up a mob of insult-hurling trolls to trail you through cyberspace, simply make your way onto a public forum and introduce yourself as a creationist.

Behold the trolls. Boredom problem = solved. You’re welcome.

It’s really okay, though. Remember, Columbus was chased all over Europe by flat-earth trolls experts who were convinced he’d sail right off the map. And that wasn’t nearly the first time the majority of the scientific community had swallowed a laughable myth hook, line, and sinker.

Like the flat-earth fallacy, if you ever stop to really think evolution through, it’s pretty laughable fluff once you blow off all the “too intellectual for you” smokescreen terminology that has fooled so many.

It fooled me for a time.

It was the first semester of my sophomore year at Austin Peay State University.  In order to graduate, I was required to take two science courses, and I was determined not to take a science that would make me deal with a professor determined to make me believe the Bible was a storybook.

I tried to take Ag Science, but it wouldn’t fulfill the requirements for my major.  Then my buddy from high school mentioned that his geology class was a breeze.

“For real, all we have to do is look at rocks, learn the names, and take a matching test.  It’s simple.”  I stared at him, thrilled at the idea that I could bypass the gauntlet of evolution teaching that I was sure to face in a biology or chemistry class.

Totally enthused, I registered for geology. It wasn’t until I was in the college bookstore shopping for the “Historical Geology” textbook that my heart began to sink.  As I flipped through the book and skimmed the titles of the chapters, I realized it could have been called “Evolution 101” instead of “Geology.”

“Oh well,” I thought optimistically once I realized I had registered for “Historical Geology” instead of “Physical Geology” like my friend had taken, “Surely the class can’t be THAT bad.”

Famous last words.

Enter the first day of class. Enter the hundred-or-so students into the echoing lecture hall. Enter the pompous prof who is not in the mood to take questions, not today, not any day.

“THIS is a science class,” he began. “We are going to study how evolution made the world.  If you would like to talk about some other way of the world getting here, I suggest you drop this class and go take a theology class.”

His gaze swept across the large room, where each of us sat stiffly, and no one said a word.

Uh-oh.

“Oh well,” I thought. “I refuse to be brainwashed.  I refuse to believe that the world is billions of years old, and that everything that is here today just somehow morphed into its present state from a rock exploding. I’m strong! BE STRONG, REBEKAH!”

Stoically, I marched to class each Tuesday and Thursday, ready to win this game and prove that modern science was mistaken – if to no one but myself. Plenty of what the teacher said sounded positively far fetched, but it was coming so fast and furious that all I could do was write big notes to myself every time he said something that didn’t make sense logically.

“If Archaeopteryx is a missing link, why aren’t there fossils everywhere?”

“If there are missing links, why are there no fossils?”

“If the fossils tell us how old the rock layer is, and the rock layers tell us how old the fossils are, how does that make sense?”

Although my notes were full of giant doodled question marks and hastily scrawled inconsistencies I noticed in the points he’d make, I could tell I was in over my head with no solid, logical answers to counter the questions that were being raised. The only thing I knew for certain was that the Bible was true. I had centered my life around it since the time I was fifteen. I was too strong to fall.

Heh heh.

As time passed and I refused to learn the lies of evolution for fear of getting brainwashed, I faithfully flunked all my tests.

One. After. Another.

My dad had said if I ever flunked a whole class, I had to quit college.  And here it was, almost the end of the semester, and I still hadn’t made a single passing grade!

Despite a handful of things I hated about my school, there were many things I loved; I desperately wanted to finish because I knew God had led me there. Still, as the semester wound down it looked like maybe my time there was over.  It was going to take a miracle to pass the class.

Back when the class had started, the professor had assigned us one major project that would be due at the end of the semester in lieu of a final exam. The topic was completely up to us to decide.

Here was my chance to conquer evolution. Here was also my chance to pass the class.

I decided to take all the questions I had written in my notes, show how they proved how illogical evolution was, and use the Bible to prove creation was correct. I’d heard people talk about how they won debates that way.

I just knew I was destined to shine with the great heroes of the faith.

Off I went to the college library, fearlessly hunting for every single book on evolution I could find.  I got a heavy stack and plunked it down on a table, where I set my Bible next to the stack of False Evolution Books. Pen in hand, I was ready for any scientific argument that could be thrown at me. My plan was to simply look up the Bible verse refuting each scientific hoax and prove the theories wrong using Scripture. So I picked up the first False Evolution Book, opened it, and began to read.

And my mouth fell open.

The opening, fundamental premise of the book had nothing to do with science. Instead, it opened by discussing the Bible.  Although the cover claimed to be about the science of evolution, beginning at the first chapter I found a simple onslaught against the Bible. Like a message written for the sheer purpose of stripping away all faith in the Creator, there was nothing to refute scientifically. It simply stated that the Bible was not true.

And suddenly, like a flash of light darkness, I knew it was so.

Like a zombie mindlessly chanting “b-r-a-i-n-s,” I was ready to repeat every mantra ever, with absolute certainty, that the Bible was a big lie. I was suddenly and completely convinced I was nothing more than a random piece of luck that time and chance had thrown together.  Just as I surely as I knew my name, I knew evolution was truth.

It wasn’t a conscious choice to change my mind. It was a sudden, instantaneous jolt of discovery that convinced me that my life, built on the Bible, had actually been built on nothing.

It was the deadest, most miserable feeling I have ever experienced.

I trudged across campus to my job at the Business Office, dropped into my rolling chair, and stared at the computer screen. I shook my head at the irony: This whole time I could have been drinking, partying, living it up like so many other college kids. There was no reason NOT to waste my life if there was no God who cared or had a grand plan for my life. If there was no promise of a God ready to bless me with a good future, why should I sacrifice fun on Friday night?

Everything I had done, every “good” decision I had made with the belief that God was directing my steps, had been in vain.

It was awful: Kind of like waking up to witness the funeral of every dream you ever had.

Somewhere between answering phone calls and logging faxes, I opened up my Hotmail and stared at the screen.  Mechanically, feeling like a complete idiot, I typed in the address field, “To God.”

And there, with all the embarrassment of a preteen child writing to Santa, I wrote God an email.

I no longer have a copy of it, but the gist of what I typed was,

“Dear God.  Although I know you don’t exist, I have lived my life for the past few years believing that You do exist.  My mind now screams at me that You are not. I feel very stupid writing this to You, but I want to try something. I want to go on acting like You are there.  Even though I know You are not.

“I am going to try to believe in You even though it seems like foolishness. And I ask You, in case my mind is wrong and you really do exist, to please help me believe in You again.  If You are.  Thank you.  In Jesus’ name.”

Of course, I didn’t hit send. Not that I figured God could see it one way or another. Still, I had made my request and I would try to stand by my choice to believe in a God I knew wasn’t there – just in case He was.

I went through the rest of my day feeling dead.  Friday was the same.

I wondered what I would do my project about now that I saw the stupidity of my original plan to prove the truth of creation and expose the lie of evolution. Saturday afternoon at home I sat in the kitchen, wishing God was real but knowing He wasn’t. No matter, I sighed. I would believe God made the rolling hills outside the window even though my intellect told me I was being a fool. I would pretend. And if I failed the class, big whoop. Nothing mattered in the grand scheme of things.

I looked up as my younger brother headed out the door with a full garbage bag from the packed closet he’d been cleaning out.

“Hold it,” I barked.

Out of habit that only comes from being a bossy firstborn, I grabbed the bag and pulled it open for inspection, just in case he might be throwing away something of mine or something too good to trash.

There, amid old papers and inkless pens, I saw a tattered copy of an old textbook from my mother’s college days at Liberty.

I snatched it up. The cover was missing, but the spine read, Scientific Creationism.

scientific creationism
Here’s what the cover looked like decades ago, before the cover was ripped off and it found its way into my brother’s closet.

Like a life raft, I grabbed it and ripped it open, and there I found the answers to every question I had scribbled in the margins of my notes.  “Archaeopteryx!” I yelped in delight. I flipped pages. “The levels of nickel in the lakes! Look at this chart!”

My brother looked at me like I was crazy. I thumbed through the book feverishly, stunned at how forcefully God had answered my prayer!

He is real! He would help me believe!  He would work everything out!

My faith restored like I could never have imagined, I raced to the library, book in hand.

Now, with solid, logical answers to the technical questions I had scribbled in so many of my notes throughout the semester – including many quotes by prominent evolutionary scientists – I began forming my Powerpoint. The project was based on facts from major scientific publications and secular scholarly journals I found in the university library basement after checking in the bibliography of Mama’s tattered textbook. While I wasn’t sure what my professor would think, I was sure he couldn’t say I’d not done my homework.

I turned it in the last day of class and held my breath. When the time came to call the automated number to hear my semester grades, I gasped as it sank in…I got a C in the class!  Never once did I pass a single test or quiz, but I got a C for my final grade!

So what did I learn from my weekend as an evolutionist? 

I learned that…

Creation vs. evolution is a religious discussion.  The titles “Creationism” and “Evolutionism” are really just smokescreens for a much more important discussion:  “Yea, hath God said…?” 

As I learned from my experience as an evolutionist, the battle is for belief in the Bible.  Everything else is incidental.

Next, I learned that there is an evil force capable of brainwashing.  People who don’t believe in God may not be evil people who have chosen to reject God, although some may be.  Many of them have simply listened to a lie, and that lie has molded their brains so that they KNOW something that is false.

Most importantly, I learned that I am not as wise, or as righteous, or as strong, as I think I am.  Jesus Christ alone gives me strength. He is my wisdom. He is my righteousness. With Him, I can do all things. On my own, I’m nothing.

When I think I am above falling, I have no idea how close I am to the edge of the cliff.

Jesus alone is able to keep us from falling; it is His grace that allowed me to believe even when I knew (falsely) that there was nothing in which to believe. His grace kicked my bossiness into gear to find that book in the bottom of the trash bag. His grace allowed my professor to have mercy and give me the C that I so desperately needed.

Everything rises and falls on belief.  In the end, I chose to believe in something that seemed ridiculous, and God blessed that belief even though I didn’t deserve it. Jesus promised that belief in Him would be rewarded with everlasting life!

IN THE END, it’s all about Whose word you believe.

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 3:36

Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee;
which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee
before the sons of men! Psalms 31:19

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